The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is seeking to stop a recent increase in workplace fatalities in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. Falls, vehicle accidents, machine hazards, burns, and grain bin accidents are the leading causes of death in the three states. In addition, fatalities involving workers being struck by motor vehicles doubled from two to four persons for the same time period.
OSHA states in its News Release on July 10, 2018: “OSHA has investigated 34 fatalities in these three states since Oct. 1, 2017,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kim Stille. “Working together with employers, unions, and employees, we can reduce these incidents. By implementing and sustaining workplace safety and health programs we can help employees avoid preventable injuries and fatalities. The agency has additional resources available to help employers of all sizes identify workplace hazards and eliminate them.”
OSHA has launched a campaign to address the recent uptick in fatalities in these three states. The message of the campaign is that compliance assistance, tips, consultation for small- and medium-sized businesses, educational materials, training and other information is available to employers at no charge.
- Know Your Rights – Under Federal law, you are entitled to a safe workplace. Training also plays a key role in the prevention of accidents.
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OSHA Safe and Sound Campaign
OSHA recently launched its Safe and Sound Campaign to make companies more aware of the services it offers as well as address some common hazards in the region that have led to fatalities including confined space and struck by incidents.
“Workplace safety and health incidents hurt workers and their families, and they cost businesses’ capital better invested in growing their business and creating jobs,” said Kim Stille, OSHA’s Regional Administrator in Kansas City in a statement. “By identifying and controlling job-related hazards that can lead to injuries and illnesses, businesses can improve their safety and health programs, save money and improve competitiveness.”
OSHA indicates that there are three core elements to an effective health and safety program:
- Management leadership. Top management commits to establishing, maintaining and improving the program continually, and provides any necessary resources.
- Worker participation. Employers invite workers to identify solutions. Improved worker engagement can lead to better productivity, higher job satisfaction and worker retention – lowering turnover and recruitment costs.
- A systematic “find and fix” approach. Employers and workers examine their workplaces, proactively and routinely, to identify and address hazards before they can cause injury or illness.
OSHA Compliance Assistance
OSHA offers compliance assistance for small- and medium-sized businesses at no charge. Each state has its own On-site Consultation Program, a free and confidential program to help employers learn about potential hazards at their workplace, improve safety and health programs. Additionally, OSHA’s Safety & Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) recognizes small business employers who have used the agency’s On-site Consultation Program services, and operate an exemplary safety and health program. Acceptance of a site into SHARP is an achievement, and serves as a model for worksite safety and health.
Employer Reasons for a Workplace Health and Safety Program
Here are a few reasons why you should give strong consideration to a health and safety training program:
- All Workplaces Have an Element of Risk – From manually handling packages to driving heavy machinery, there are different levels of exposure to risk and illness.
- Increases Staff Productivity – Employees in many ways are like customers, treat them well and they stay, treat them well and they feel valued and treat your customers well in turn.
- Reduces Frequency of Compensation Claim or Lawsuit – It only takes one serious injury to bring a worker’s compensation claim or lawsuit. Safety training can diminish the frequency.
- Enhances Company Image Positively – Workers want to know what they stand to gain from a company in regards their benefits and salaries, but they also want to know your plan for their health and safety.
- Reduces Costs – Apart from the cost that will be accrued by litigation costs, fines and compensation payments, actual injuries and incidents can rack up direct costs in, medical expenses such as ambulance, hospital, and doctors’ fees, medication, and rehabilitation. There could even be increases in insurance premiums as a result. Likewise, indirect costs could include disrupted work schedules, lost productivity, clean-up and repair, hiring and training replacement workers, bad publicity, time spent on accident investigation and claims management.
As an employer, don’t think health and safety training is expensive and wasteful. Health and safety training educates your workers to work safely and motivates them to be more productive… which is a profit in itself.
Anyone with questions about workplace safety or compliance assistance can call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).